Telstra continues to elicit negative perceptions……………….
An ongoing Telstra torment
I CAN'T begin to explain the torment I've experienced this past 12 months at the hands of Telstra.
I must say though my feeling of futility and stupidity was somewhat allayed when reading our glorious Bonnie's letter to you on December 20.
Bonnie is a business woman I admire and it brought me great relief to know that someone of her capability and knowledge of the world of communications could also struggle in her dealings with this once great telco.
I could detail in excess of 20 examples of monumental Telstra stuff ups involving my personal and company phones and internet connections over this year, however, the one that brought the most chuckles and pain was their recent disconnection of my business phones.
Without detailing the events leading up to this - which were quite bizarre and confusing to say the least -a day arrived, a Thursday, about four weeks ago when all my telephones - the business line, the EFTPOS line and all three company mobiles were dead.
When I tried to dial it told me I could only dial the billing number on my bill -which I did but it still didn't let me ring out.
So in frustration and fear I tried the Telstra business number - miraculously I got through. I explained I had called the billing number on my account as instructed -but had not been able to get through.
The only remark then was they were aware the wrong number is printed on those bills -no apology, no explanation.
The woman I spoke to told me that I hadn't paid my account which I explained I had in dribs and drabs over BPAY -and that Telstra had only just reconciled all the errors of the past 12 months.
The woman explained that I needed to pay another $473 if I wanted the phones reconnected.
I told her I simply didn't have that money on the day and asked her how she expected me to pay this amount given my customers couldn't call to order nor could they pay with EFTPOS and nor could they buy any pre-paid telephone or internet. She didn't care.
She said to call back when I paid and they would arrange to have my phones reconnected.
The irony was as she went to end the conversation she asked me which number was the best one to contact me on?
I said: "Are you serious? You've disconnected every single line I have."
I managed to get an email through to my son, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, he paid the account via BPAY and emailed me the payment details.
I actually have my own designated Telstra person - with an email address and direct number - as a result of the Telstra trauma
I've experienced this year. I couldn't call that person because the phones were disconnected - and as it turned out he was on an RDO anyway.
I emailed the payment information immediately to this chap, who returned to work on the Friday and he gave instructions that my phones be reconnected immediately.
Well immediately in Telstra terms was the following Tuesday morning.
My store is open 6am-6Pm every day of the week and my business number is used to book appointments for the acupuncturist and remedial masseuse who work from the clinic I've established at the rear of my store.
So almost six days with no phones, no EFTPOS and no sales of pre-paid internet or phone.
Over that weekend I needed to speak to my father.
I had a brainwave -I'll use the telephone box outside my store - hmmm ...it was out of order.
But the most painful part of this whole experience was that on the Sunday, December 5, my baby boy turned 26. He promised to call me from Tarin Kowt where he is currently serving as an Australian soldier.
For the first time in those 26 years I didn't get to speak to my baby boy on his birthday.
Thank you again Telstra -a most memorable year.
Oh, and some advice, stop spending buckets of money on sending out copious volumes of expensive marketing materials and direct that budget towards improving your customer service.
Managing Director, Premium ldeas and Marketing
[The Daily Examiner,letter to the editor,28 December 2010]